I curated what I thought would be the first exhibition of Andy Warhol’s record covers in Piteå, Sweden, in July 2008 I enlisted the help of fellow collector Guy Minnebach to assemble as complete a collection of record Warhol’s record covers as possible. Only later did I find out that Warhol’s record covers had been shown before-usually as part of other exhibitions of his art, and then only exhibiting a few covers. My intention with the 2008 exhibition was to try to gather together all the covers he designed or illustrated.
Just two months after the exhibition in Piteå closed, the Museum of Art in Montreal, Canada, put on a major exhibition entitled “Warhol Live!” which showed the link between Warhol’s art and music. Many of the record covers shown came from the collection of Paul Maréchal and his book “Andy Warhol – The Record Covers 1949-1987: Catalogue Raisonné” was published to coincide with the “Warhol Live!” exhibition.
Just before the Piteå exhibition, Guy Minnebach had discovered the “Waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr.” EP and the “Warhol Live!” exhibition showed Paul Maréchal’s newly discovered “Night Beat” box set. In September 2008, a friend of mine read an interview in a magazine with a Swedish musician turned actor who had been a member of a band called Roland and the Flying Albatros Band (known as RATFAB for short). In the interview he said that the cover of the Band’s second single had been designed by Andy Warhol. Thus started my search for this cover, and I quickly found three copies. The RATFAB single “Det brinner en eld / Mörka ögon” became the first Warhol cover NOT to be included in Maréchal’s book!
Since then, a number of covers, unrecognised in 2008, illustrated or designed by Andy Warhol have been identified.
1. Margarita Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish, Volume 2 (LP),
2. Vladimir Horowitz – Piano Music of Mendelssohn and Lizst (LP),
3. Lew White – Melodic Magic (EP),
4. Artie Shaw – Any Old Time (LP and EP),
5. Pyotr Tchaikovsky – Violin Concerto (LP and EP box),
6. Loredana Berté – Made in Italy (LP),
7. George Gershwin / Edvard Grieg – Porgy & Bess / Symphonic Dances (LP and EP box),
8. Walter Steding – Secret Spy / My Room (7″ single),
9. Curiosity Killed the Cat – Misfit / Man (7″ single).
And this list doesn’t include bootlegs or records and CDs that simply appropriated Warhol’s art for their covers. And it doesn’t include covers after 1987 that simply use or reuse Warhol’s art, such as Paul Anka’s “Amigos” or Skyline’s “Skyline” or even The Silver Apples’ “Fractal Flow / Lovefingers“.
There has been a problem in having new covers suggested to be by Warhol verified. An example is the rear cover drawing on Keely Smith’s 1957 Capitol Records LP “I Wish You Love“. By this date, Warhol was an acclaimed commercial artist and his “dot and blot” technique was being used by other illustrators. Warhol is not known to have worked with Capitol Records on any other projects, so this drawing cannot certainly be accredited to Warhol. There are similar discussions about the Tchaikovsky (No. 5 in the above list) and the Gershwin / Grieg (No. 7 in the list) designs also released in 1957, but these were at least released on the RCA Victor Bluebird label, and Warhol did many designs for RCA and its other subsidiary Camden Records. Maréchal has included the Tchaikovsky, but not the Gershwin / Grieg in the second edition of his book.
There are probably more cover designs by Andy Warhol waiting to be identified. A recent case in point is the sister box to NBC’s “Night Beat” entitled “Voices and Events“. As with the designs for the “Progressive Piano” EP set and 10″ LP a lithograph of the “Voices and Events” cover design exists in The Warhol Museum and was shown at the “Adman-Warhol Before Pop” exhibition in Australia early in 2017. It isn’t clear whether The Warhol Museum recognised this to be the design for an EP box set, but when I saw it I immediately saw the similarity to the “Night Beat” design with the dots on three sides. No one knows if the “Voices and Events” box was ever released. I suppose, like the “Night Beat” set, it was intended as a promotional teaser but the radio show it was intended to promote only lasted three episodes… so probably not.
By my reckoning, there are some 55 individual covers that can be attributed to Andy Warhol (I do not count different formats that use the same, or similar, designs), but there is no way that a newly identified cover can be given accreditation, other than being recognised by Paul Maréchal and included in future editions of his “Complete Commissioned Record Covers“.
I used to have a fantastic collection of Beatles records–everything from Mono and Stereo copies of “Please Please Me” LPs with the black and gold Parlophone labels, an autographed copy of “Love Me Do” single and just about every LP and boxes of albums and EPs. I also had a complete set of the HMV boxes of the 1987 CDs. I actually SAW The Beatles live on 24th October 1964 at the Gaumont State Cinema. I still have the “Four Aces” programme from the concert, which cost 1/- (one shilling, for those of you too young to remember pre-decimal currency). However, my Beatles records went when I sold most of my music collection when I moved to Stockholm four years ago. The only Beatles record I kept was my copy of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” as a part of my collection of Sir Peter Blake’s record cover art, a copy signed by Peter Blake, which I later asked Jann Haworth to also sign (which she gracefully did!)
I can’t say I have missed my Beatles collection, though. The Beatles released 22 singles in the United Kingdom and I had them all both in a singles box and as 3″ CD singles and the complete set of picture disc singles released on the 20th anniversary of each single’s original release. However, despite living in Sweden, I was never tempted to buy the Beatles’ Swedish singles or EPs.
The Beatles released 32 singles in Sweden between 1963 and 1970. However, the Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do/P. S. I Love You“, was never released as a single in Sweden. Today, I was given a pile of nineteen mint covers for Swedish Beatles singles (fourteen different single covers plus four duplicates with slightly different colours) together with four EP covers, one of which is apparently very rare. So I now have fourteen of the 32 single covers (43,75%).
The story behind these is that Daniel Burfitt who owns Nostalgipalatset in Stockholm, to whom I sold my record collection, comes from the town of Strängnäs, where the printers of many of the Swedish record covers were located. Daniel was contacted by the printer a couple of years ago when he was having a clear out and wanted Daniel to buy some old LPs. While looking through them, he was shown a box of unused Beatles single covers, which he bought. He asked the printer why he had kept them for fifty-odd years and was told “Well, The Beatles were special”.
The covers for Swedish singles were generally made of thin paper and were easily worn, dogeared or torn and collectors with records in good condition were, naturally, very interested in these pristine covers to replace damaged ones.
There were 20 Beatles EPs released in Sweden. Among the covers Daniel gave me are four EP covers. These were printed on heavier paper and are laminated. Again all are in mint condition.
So, a nice collection of Fab Four singles and EP covers reminding me of some of the best music of the sixties. What a great gift! Thank you Daniel.
2016 is drawing to a close and it’s time for a summary. It’s been a great year with important additions to all five of my chosen artists’ collections. Perhaps the biggest thrill, however, was being invited to show my collection of record covers by the artist known as Banksy in the major retrospective at Rome’s Palazzo Cipolla in May.
I realized some time ago that collecting all the record covers that five artists have produced would be a full time job and had promised myself that I would not start collecting any additional artists. However, this year I succumbed to temptation and added two more artists to my list of collectible record covers. The first was not really a designer, but an icon. I realized that I already had some of the rarest covers with portraits of Kate Moss and that collecting the ten or so remaining covers might not be too difficult. The second artist I started to collect is Jeff Koons. So far, though, I have only found three covers with his art, so that hasn’t been too taxing.
I’ll take you through the additions to my collection artist by artist.
Banksy: Well. It’s been a poor year for new record covers with Banksy art. However, I did find one by Junichi Masuda, who composes for computer games and is a director at Pokémon. He released an album in 2015 called simply “Pokémon” with a cover that was a pastiche of the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” cover
There are at least three different variants of this album pressed on coloured vinyl: blue/red swirl, red/white swirl and red/clear swirl. each colour was released in limited editions of 500, 200 and 100, respectively. But, there was also a test pressing released in a limited edition of 100 with a completely different cover:
This is a hand-sprayed version of Banksy‘s “Flower Thrower“–but instead of throwing flowers he is about to throw a Pokémon ball. As I mentioned, there were intended to be 100 copies of this cover, but the stencil didn’t last for the whole edition and the last few copies were given a different design:
Again this was based on Banksy‘s “Girl With Balloon” design. Probably less than ten covers had this design. However, I had the “Pokémon” album with the “Sgt Pepper” cover and the “Flower Thrower” cover, so I didn’t think this particularly “Banksy” enough to include in my collection.
When the invitation to show my Banksy collection in Rome arrived I decided that I had to get the original first pressing of the Paris Hilton CD “Paris“. Luckily two came up on Ebay at prices way below what the CD had been auctioned for just a couple of years ago, so I made what I thought was a cheeky offer and, to my surprise, my offer was accepted. My joy was, however, tempered a couple of weeks later when the other copy sold for less than I had paid. Oh, well. At least the CD could be included in the Rome show.
Sir Peter Blake: It’s been a good year for my Peter Blake collection with some new releases and some older items that I had missed.
I have already owned up to my obsession with Eric Clapton‘s “24 Nights” recording. Well this year I have really fed it.
The first additions to my collection were two bootleg CDs from the “24 Nights” concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. These were for the first and fourth nights, respectively. Both CDs had original artwork that incorporated Peter Blake’s drawings.
I also bought the 7″ single “Wonderful Tonight/Edge of Darkness” with its Peter Blake cover.
Then, finally, I splashed out on the magnificent “24 Nights Limited Edition–Music by Eric Clapton/Drawings by Peter Blake” box set published by Genesis Publications in 1991. I was lucky enough to find one of the promotional copies (Number XXV/200), signed by both Clapton and Blake. The box set contains two CDs “24 Nights” that include 3 previously unreleased tracks, purported not to be available anywhere else.
Well, that proved untrue as I found a “Collectors Edition” CDEP entitled “Wonderful Tonight” that included these three tracks among the six on this double CD.
I June, I was walking along St Eriksgatan in my hometown, Stockholm, where there still are several record shops and secondhand record stores and as I passed The Beat Goes On I noticed a record with Peter Blake‘s 2015 portrait of Eric Clapton on the cover. It was the newly released “I Still Do” double album and I bought it on the spot.
Then I started to do some research and found that Eric Clapton‘s own site had sold limited editions of the album–a box set with the CD, a photo and a USB in the form of a radio valve with the album including two extra tracks and a film of an interview with Clapton and the album’s producer Glyn Johns. The box had sold out on Clapton‘s site, so I turned to Ebay and a search quickly turned up some affordable copies and I ordered one. Sweden’s postal service is not what it once was and I still hadn’t received the box after a month. I had been tracking the parcel and to my horror found that Postnord (the Swedish postal service) listed the parcel as “delivered”. But I couldn’t find it anywhere. I was desperate. After a further ten days or so I decided it was lost forever and ordered a second copy. A few days later, when the second copy was already on its way, the original parcel turned up! So now I have two copies, one still sealed. Then I saw that there was a further limited edition with just the USB in a box like radio valves were sold in. I found a cheap copy in Australia and after 4-5 weeks it duly arrived. Then in August, one of the moderators on the Rate Your Music site tipped me off about a Blake cover that I had never heard of. It turned out to be the only classical music cover Peter Blake has so far designed. It was a recording of George Gershwin‘s “An American In Paris” coupled with “Rhapsody in Blue” and Ferde Grofé’s “Piano Concerto in F” played by Steuart Bedford and the English Chamber Orchestra.
In addition to the recordings, I have managed to find some rare memorabilia relating to Blake’s record covers. I found one of Sony Music’s Peter Blake dartboards given away as prizes for a competition in connection with Oasis‘ “Stop the Clocks” release. The dartboard figured on the cover of the LP and CD versions of “Stop the Clocks” and on the CDs themselves as well as on the covers of the limited edition double 7″ and CDEP also entitled “Stop the Clocks“.
And I found a tour poster for The Who‘s 1981 Face Dances tour of the US in mint condition. I also got hold of copies of the programme sold at Eric Clapton’s 70th birthday concerts at Madison Square Garden and The Royal Albert Hall . These are LP sized with the same Peter Blake portrait of Clapton as on the “I Still Do” album cover. I fully expected that this portrait would be used on the cover of the triple LP set “Slowhand at 70” which was the official release of the Albert Hall Concerts. But I hadn’t realised that Clapton was saving it for the “I Still Do” cover.
In addition I bought two music-related books:
a. Paul Weller‘s “Surburban 100“; a collection of Weller‘s song lyrics with cover designed by Weller‘s friend Peter Blake.
The copy I bought was even signed by Paul Weller–an added plus!
b. I already had the first paperback edition of Roger McGough‘s “Summer With Monika” with Peter Blake‘s rather racy cover painting of a nude woman lying on her bed. Penguin Books decided that they couldn’t use that cover picture so they chose another rather more platonic Blake painting for their edition.
My new copy is signed by both Peter Blake and Roger McGough.
Damien Hirst: As far as I am aware there has only been one new release with Damien Hirst‘s art so far this year–Jeff Wootton‘s brilliant solo album “The Way the Light“. For those who don’t know of Jeff Wootton he is a 29-year-old guitarist from Manchester who has an impressive CV. He has played with Damon Albarn (in Gorillaz, among other combinations), with Noel Gallagher in Gallagher’s post-Oasis band High Flying Birds.
“The Way the Light” was released in February 2016 as a digital download and as a 500 copy numbered, limited edition vinyl album which included a lavish booklet with 10 new spin paintings by Damien Hirst. Even the LP’s back cover had a spin painting.
The limited edition sold out in just over six months.There were a number of promotional singles, tracks from the album. released either as downloads or on CD or CD-rom. I have managed to find three of these CD/CD-roms (there might be a fourth, which I have to trace). These are “The Eternal” (a one-track CD-rom with no catalogue number), “Sonik Drips” (a one-track CD-single with catalogue number JWPROMO02) and “Reverie” (another one-track CD-single with catalogue number JWPROMO04) . Each has a Damien Hirst spin painting on its inlay.The “The Way the Light” album had a Japan-only release as a CD with an extra track (“The Eternal Reconstructed“).
During the autumn I saw a copy of “The Way the Light” for sale on Ebay and snapped it up to find that it was unnumbered! I suppose it must be a promotional copy, but it didn’t have any indication, other than the lack of a number, that it was. So now I have both a numbered (No. 409) and an unnumbered copy.
I have spent much of 2016 searching for the five singles produced by The Hours in 2006-7. I had four of these in my collection but they mysteriously vanished–I suspect when I sold the bulk of my record collection in 2013. They are limited editions with picture covers designed by Damien Hirst and Jason Beard and inner picture inner sleeves, too. The singles are “Ali in the Jungle/Nothing“, “Back When You Were Good/Back When You Were Good (remix)“, “Love You More/Mum and Dad“, “Ali in the Jungle/For a Moment” and “Big Black Hole/Killing Time”. I managed to collect then all again–but they cost quite a bit more this time around.
4. Klaus Voormann: I have a great many additions to my Klaus Voormann collection this year. 2016 saw the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ “Revolver” with its Klaus Voormann cover art. Apparently, Robert Whittaker had taken photos of the Fab Four for a cover, but John Lennon wanted something different and contacted Klaus, who was then living in London and playing with Manfred Mann. I already had my copy of revolver signed by Klaus but I bought his lovely book “Revolver 50: Birth of an Icon” from him and received a beautiful signed copy. I also found that he had written another book about his time with The Beatles called “Four Track Stories” and he sent be a signed copy of that too, with a signed postcard!
The German music magazine Good Times devoted its August/September number this year to “Revolver” and there were five different covers; four of which each had a new portrait of a Beatle, drawn in Revolver style by Klaus Voormann, on the covers and the fifth had a composite of all four Beatles. The magazine has also produced t-shirts with Voormann‘s Beatle portraits, but I haven’t invested in those.
I discovered a really poor booklet published in America purporting to be a catalogue of Klaus Voormann‘s record covers. When it arrived I found out that it only included covers listed in Wikipedia. The only useful information I got out of it was the fact that Klaus had designed covers for two CD-singles by Wet, Wet, Wet that I had not heard about. They were easy to find–and cheap!
Klaus also designed the covers for two CDs by his friend Volkwin Müller which Thorsten Knublauch told me about. The first called “Strawberry Songs” was by Volkwin & Co and released in 2012.
The second was simple titled “Volkwin” and released earlier this year.
Klaus Voorman even had time in 2016 to design the cover for Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heroes‘ CD “Frettening Behaviour“.
Another unexpected find was the cover of Jimmy Smith‘s 1974 album “Black Smith“. I had no idea that Klaus Voormann had designed a cover for Jimmy Smith until i saw a copy advertised on Ebay with cover art credited to Klaus. I found a mint copy for a couple of dollars on Discogs.
The last Voormann cover I bought this year was a signed copy of the single “Lu La Le Lu“– a Klaus Voormann song he recorded for Apple in the sixties but that was not released until now. The song was recorded and released by Wishful Thinking in 1972. This single issued for charity had a remixed version of Klaus Voormann‘s recording on the A side and Wishful Thinking‘s version on the B side.
Andy Warhol: I managed to find fifteen covers with Warhol designs, only four of which were actually released in Andy‘s lifetime. These are Artie Shaw‘s EP “Both Feet in the Groove“, Aretha Franklin’s “Jimmie Lee” and “Rock-a-Lott” 12″ Maxi singles and a rare Debbie Harry 12″ picture disc version of “In Love With Love“. I also found a copy of Sonic Youth‘s “Into the Groove(y)/Burnin’ Up” 12″ single released under the moniker Ciccione Youth. The cover is a play on Warhol‘s design for Madonna‘s Wedding photo, but the cover isn’t really a Warhol cover. There are a myriad of different re-issues of the magnificent “Velvet Underground & Nico” and I collected a couple of picture disc versions this year–one in a die-cut card cover, the other in a transparent plastic sleeve. Both apparently produced in Russia. The version in the die-cut cover is quite rare and the disc differs slightly from the version without the cover.
A group called Land of Sex & Glory released a 7″ single called “I Always Wanted to Be Andy Warhol’s Movie Star” in 1984 in a poster sleeve and I found a mint copy. Another 7″ single that I bought was The Weaklings‘ “It’s So Criminal/Real Cool Time” with cover photo by Richard Avedon of Warhol‘s scarred abdomen after he had been shot by Valerie Solanas.
There were some CDs with Warhol art that I picked up just for fun. Marilyn Monroe‘s “Happy Birthday Mr. President“, “Warholes or All Andy Would Enjoy (And Fear) / Warhol Memory Disorder” by unpronounceable Lengow & Heʸᵉrmeᵃʳs, Otomo Yoshihide & Sachiko M. that has a Warhol cow on the cover punctuated with bullet holes. The final CD with Warhol‘s art was “John Cage to David Byrne: Four Decades of Contemporary Music” a various artists compilation released in conjunction with the exhibition “Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons: Four Decades of Art from the Broad Collections“. The exhibition showed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 7th October 2001 to 6th January 2002. The inlay had pictures of works by several popular 20th Century American artists, including Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Sharon Lockhart, StephanBalkenoi, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
However, my greatest finds were made as the 2016 faded. At the beginning of December I found a near mint copy of Moondog‘s “Story of Moondog” on the Prestige label, a mint copy of Skyline‘s bootleg album with Warhol’s portrait of Susanna de Maria, and the turquoise variant of the 1949 “Alexander Nevsky” album with Warhol‘s illustration. These haven’t yet arrived so I’ll have to post pictures in the new year.
Miscellaneous: As I mentioned at the beginning of this post (but which you have probably forgotten by now) I have started collecting two further artists, Jeff Koons‘ record cover art and covers with Kate Moss‘s portrait.
A. Jeff Koons: I have thus far only discovered three covers with Jeff Koons‘ art: Everyone know about Lady Gaga‘s “ARTPOP” album but the other two are less well-known. Tenor saxophonist Arthur Doyle‘s single-sided 12″ “Live at the Alterknit” released in 2008 and the “John Cage to David Byrne: Four Decades of Contemporary Music” CD that I mentioned in the section on Andy Warhol.
B. Kate Moss covers: I already had both versions of Dirty Funker‘s “Let’s Get Dirty” 12″ with their Banksy portraits of Kate on front and rear covers, Damien Hirst‘s “Use Money, Cheat Death” single-sided, white vinyl 12″ and a compilation promotional CD for handbag manufacturers Longchamp that was compiled by Kate and called “Kate Moss for Longchamp – An Iconic Selection by Kate Moss”. This year’s additions to the Kate Moss collection include The Unholy Two‘s “Kutter/Porkys” 7″ single that uses what looks like photocopies of Chuck Close‘s 2005 portraits of a nude Kate Moss.
I also found a dealer in California who was offloading three of Bryan Ferry‘s limited edition singles from his 2010 album “Olympia“. The Vinyl Factory in London had produced these beautiful six 12″ in strictly limited editions of 200 or 300 copies and they sold out almost immediately.
Having got these, I found a copy of of the Vinyl Factory limited edition “Olympia” album with its art portrait of Kate enclosed. So that was added to my collection.
There is also a digital download with all the remixes of the tracks on the Vinyl Factory remix singles, with a playing time of about 4 hours called “Olympia Remixes”
I also found a Dutch promotional CD of “Heartache by Numbers” which I also added to my collection.
As far as I can tell there are fifteen covers with Kate Moss‘s portrait and I now have ten of them. Those outstanding are the two remaining Bryan Ferry 12″ Vinyl Factory singles, “You Can Dance” and “Alphaville“, Babyshambles‘ album “Shotter’s Nation“, Primal Scream and Kate Moss “Some Velvet Morning” and possibly 6majik9‘s “Kate Moss” CDS.
I have been collecting record cover art since the 1980s. First designers including Vaughan Oliver and his collaborations with Nigel Grierson as 23 Envelope and, later, as V23 with Chris Bigg. Neville Brody ,with his covers (mainly) for the Fetish label, was another designer I collected. Then, when I moved to Sweden, I started collecting covers by Martin Kann, who is responsible for the cover art for Swedish rockers bob hund. Most of the record covers I had by these designers disappeared when I had to sell my record collection and I had to decide which designers’ covers to keep.
I thought I knew the history of record cover design, but to my eternal shame, I only found out that one individual, Alex Steinweiss (1917-2011), had started the whole field of record cover design in about 2005 when I read Nick de Ville‘s great book on record cover design “Album-Style & Image in Sleeve Design” from 2003.But I HAD for years seen some of Steinweiss‘s work at my parents’ home! They had a condo i Sarasota, Florida, for many years. Sarasota was Steinweiss‘s retirement home and he produced posters for the celebrated Sarasota Jazz Festival and my father had bought three of these posters, which hung on a bedroom wall at home, but I had no idea Steinweiss had designed record covers! Once I had seen de Ville‘s book, I started looking for some Steinweiss covers. They were not easy to find as few Internet sellers recognised Steinweiss‘s work and sold records only by their artist/title. Then, in 2006, I bought Jennifer McKnight-Trontz’s “For the Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss, Inventor of the Album Cover“. A great place to start researching Steinweiss‘s production of over 2500 record covers.
Steinweiss may not have been the first to illustrate record covers–here the purists argue–but he was the first to convince a record company that pictures on covers could actually sell records. In 1939, at the tender age of 22, he was hired by Columbia Records as art director for the company’s recorded music division, principally to be responsible for advertising material.
Few dedicated record shops existed in the 1930’s. Music was mainly sold as sheet music and records were usually sold in general stores, electrical appliance stores and i a few record shops. Records were only available as 78 r.p.m shellac discs, ten or twelve inches in diameter. Single discs were generally packaged in brown envelopes with or without a central hole that showed the record label with the title and artist on the record. Longer works, such as classical recordings had to be split onto several discs and were packaged in book-like albums that contained any number of records from two to ten. The front covers were generally plain perhaps with record company, the record’s catalogue number and the record title. They were affectionately known as “tombstone covers”!
The album’s spine showed the title and artist and the record’s catalogue number. These albums were generally stored like books in a library, with only the spines visible.
Steinweiss, during his artistic studies, had seen the power of pictures in selling and suggested to his superiors that adding a picture to illustrate the music might actually increase sales of these albums. Despite initial scepsis the directors allowed Steinweiss to produce a limited number of pictorial covers and the first “Smash Song Hits by Rodgers & Hart” appeared in 1940 (Jennifer McKnight-Trontz says 1939).
I collected about fifty Steinweiss covers and was lucky enough to find a copy of the “Smash Song Hits by Rodgers & Hart” in really good condition early on. This album seems extremely rare as I have been on a fruitless search for a second copy ever since. It seems important for anyone particularly interested in record sleeve design to have this seminal design, so I kept it when my other Steinweiss covers vanished.
Of course, Steinweiss‘s new picture covers increased the sales of Columbia Records’ Albums and he was allowed to continue producing sleeve art. When, in 1948, Columbia introduced the microgroove LP, it fell to Steinweiss to design a suitable packaging and he came up with the LP record sleeve with a design on the front, text on the rear and on the spine. Many of the designs he produced for the 78 r.p.m albums were transferred when a work was reissued in the new format. But Steinweiss‘s burden of designing new covers meant that he couldn’t do them all himself. He enlisted other talented designers to work for Columbia, including Jim Flora and a commercial artist named Andrew Warhola, just arrived in New York from Pittsburgh.
Steinweiss left Columbia in 1949 and went freelance. He subsequently designed covers for several other record companies including Everest, Decca and London and RCA.
in 2009, Kevin Reagan and Steven Heller convinced Taschen to publish a luxurious book simply entitled “Steinweiss” with the subtitle “The Inventor of the Modern Record Cover“. I addition to a standard edition Taschen produced an art edition; one hundred copies numbered 1-100 contained a print of Steinweiss‘s design for Decca Records’ recording of Igor Stravinsky‘s “The Firebird“, the second time Steinweiss had designed a cover for that work.
There were also a further one hundred art copies, numbered 101-200, that did not contain the print. Steinweiss, aged 92, was involved in the production of the book and the art editions were all signed by him as were the prints included in the first one hundred copies. My copy is No. 96.
The book contains full-sized pictures of over two hundred of Steinweiss‘s cover designs as well as pictures of posters and books and ceramics that he made. A worthy tribute to the man without whom I probably wouldn’t be collecting record cover art.
The Internet is a fantastic research tool for collectors. One doesn’t have to buy anything but it provides a wealth of databases from which to search. Researching record covers has been made so much easier thanks to record databases such as Discogs, Musicstack and others. Even Ebay and Etsy are great databases to use in searches.
I researched my post on Kate Moss on record covers entirely via the Internet. I owned three covers with Kate Moss’s portrait and bought a fourth as I found it available despite apparently being very rare. I have even researched Roy Lichtenstein‘s art on record sleeves via Ebay and Discogs without buying a single cover.
So, despite a smug feeling that I already had ALL his record covers, I was doing my usual weekly search for Klaus Voormann’s record cover art a couple of weeks ago when a new cover appeared. A record by a group which went by the (not so lyrical) name of Paddy, Klaus & Gibson.
A copy was for sale on http://www.ebay.de and I jumped at the chance. It turned out that the seller was famous German Thorsten Knublauch, collector of Beatles material from their Hamburg days and author of books on the Fab Four. He told me that fellow Beatles expert Dieter Hoffmann had produced this compilation album to document an early phase in Klaus Voormann‘s musical career.
The following information comes from a blog post by Thorsten Knublauch reviewing the album (see: http://wogew.blogspot.de/2015/02/paddy-klaus-gibson.html). Klaus Voormann had bought ex-Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe‘s Höfner bass when he left the band and hopped into a band together with Paddy Chambers (guitar) and John Frankland (vocals, guitar) and Gibson Kemp (drums) called The Eyes. The Eyes released two singles and Klaus Voormann drew a band portrait on their “She / Peanut Butter” single cover. Paddy Chambers had previously been a member of legendary Liverpool band The Big Three, Gibson Kemp (who later married Astrid Kirchherr) has been drummer for The Hurricanes and John Frankland who had been a member of Kingsize Taylor & The Dominoes.
And, yes, it’s the same drawing on the cover of the “Paddy, Klaus & Gibson” album, but with John Frankland (he in the cap peering over Gibson’s head) removed as he had left the band. Klaus Voormann had approved the revised cover design.
The “Paddy, Klaus & Gibson” album was produced by Dieter Hoffmann to collect the six tracks released by the trio in 1965-1966. He produced 300 copies – 100 copies each on black, clear and read vinyl. After contacting Dieter – a fellow medical doctor – I also bought the black and red vinyl versions to complete the collection.
So, once again I started to congratulate myself on “completing” my collection of Klaus Voorman record cover art when Thorsten Knublauch mentioned an early jazz album that Klaus had done a cover drawing for, much in the same style as his series for the “Pioneers of Jazz” series on the Coral Record label. The record, a radio broadcast recording, has the impossible title “Wer noch nie im Bett Radio gemacht hat“, which he translated as “Who never ever did radio in bed“. He even had a picture of the cover – a patient in a hosital bed hooked up to drop bottles.
Well, I really have to do some serious research to find a copy of this, not only because it’s a Klaus Voormann cover, but because I really love the medical subject! So, dear readers, please excuse me if I do not post any further posts for the foreseeable future – I’ll be out looking for this album.
I suppose it was the fact that a collection of 105 record covers bearing cover art by Andy Warhol or his associates is currently up for auction at Sotheby’s in London (auction date 29th & 30th September, 2015) with an estimated sale price of £30,000 to £50,000 that made me sit down and think about which covers should and should not be included in a collection of Warhol covers.
I have made a list of record (LPs, EPs and singles) and CD covers that currently includes 218 items. I have included some doubles like various pressings of Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” album as well as re-issues of the Alexander Nevsky cover and various formats of fifites EPs by Artie Shaw and The Joe Newman Octet. However, I haven’t included the Liberty re-issues of Kenny Burrell’s Blue Note albums with Warhol drawings or the various Blue Note issues with different New York addresses in my list.
The collection on sale at Sotheby’s includes some covers that I have not included in my list – such as Loredana Berte’s “Jazz” album. Also included in the sale are some “replica” covers. As I know whose collection this is, I can guess that these “replicas” are a couple of the covers I made (“Progressive Piano” and “Night Beat“). I wonder how Sotheby’s views the inclusion of these “fakes”. I shall visit the pre-auction viewing and try to find out.
The collection on sale includes some very rare items including a “Giant Size $1.57 Each” cover signed by Billy Klüver (who together with Warhol silkscreened the covers) and copies of “Sticky Fingers” and “The Velvet Underground & Nico” signed by Andy Warhol. But – some rare covers, like the Lew White “Melodic Magic” and “Waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr.” and the rarer blue version of “A Program of Mexican Music” – are missing. It also includes the East Village Other’s “Electric Newspaper” (incidentally, also included in Paul Maréchal’s book), which has no other connection with Warhol than the record contains a track “composed” by him. The cover art is definitely not by Warhol.
My list includes more thirty-five CDs – only one of which (Aretha Franklin’s “Aretha“) was actually released in Warhol’s lifetime. Should these really be considered to be “Warhol Covers”? Just this week two more bootleg CDs arrived that use Warhol’s 1975 folio of prints of Mick Jagger for their cover art. The first is called “Marquee ’71 + Sticky Out” and the second “Raretracks+“.
Many of the records and CDs on my list are bootlegs – by The Velvet Underground or, like these most recent additions, The Rolling Stones. Should a serious collection include bootlegs or be restricted to officially released material?
I would be interested in reading other collector’s opinions as to where to draw the line when collecting Warhol cover art.
The compact disc (CD) was developed jointly by by Philips and SONY and introduced in 1982, five years before Andy Warhol’s death in February 1987 following a gallbladder operation. As far as I can ascertain the only CD that used Warhol’s art that was released during his lifetime is the 1986 Aretha Franklin album “Aretha“. I have twenty-two of the 33 catalogued CDs in my collection that have cover art or portraits by/of Andy Warhol. The table lists all these that I have found.
The compact discs:
Aretha Franklin‘s “Aretha” album released in 1986, was simultaneously released on LP, cassette and CD. Many older albums with Warhol art were later re-issued on CD. But I have not included re-issues in this list – thus no Velvet Underground & Nico or any of the Blue Note albums with Warhol art.
in 1988 Tobias Picker’s “Keys to the City” coupled with Marc Blitzstein’s “Piano Concerto”, was first released, on the CRI label. The booklet featured Warhol’s “Brooklyn Bridge” poster design on the cover (left). Warhol had created this print to celebrate the Bridge’s centenary in 1983. The CD was was re-issued in the 1990s with a modified cover (right).
In 1990 John Cale and Lou Reed released “Songs for Drella”, their tribute to Andy Warhol. “Drella” was Warhol superstar Ondine’s nickname for Warhol – a contraction of Dracula and Cinderella – used by people at The Factory but apparently not appreciated by Warhol himself. The “self portrait” on the cover was taken by Billy Name. There was also a limited edition CD in a velvety Digipak version that only had the album title of the front cover together with Cale’s and Reed’s names.
Russell Means, a famous native American activist, released “Electric Warrior” in 1993. The portrait on the booklet was taken from Warhol’s “The American Indian” series, originally published in 1976. Other portraits of Means from the series can be seen at http://www.skarstedt.com/exhibitions/2012-10-10_andy-warhol/.
The Warhol Museum opened the following year and a book and CD were published to commemorate its inauguration. The CD of Andy Warhol interviews “Warhol From Tapes” had a detail from “Flowers” printed on the CD. The book had the compact disc attached to the front cover, but there are also CDs in standard jewel cases.
In 1972, Paul Anka had commissioned Warhol to paint a series of portraits of him. Warhol delivered these in person to Anka, who was, at that time, appearing in Las Vegas. Anka used two of the portraits on his 1976 LP “The Painter” and in 1996 released a compact disc album of duets entitled “Amigos”. This was a Spanish language release with Anka duetting with such artists as Ricky Martin, Julio Iglesias and others, including his daughter Anthea Anka. Two compact disc singles were released from this album; a promotional single of “Diana” featuring Paul Anka and Ricky Martin and a standard CD single of “Yo te amo”, which Anka sings together with Anthea.
The soundtrack to the film “I Shot Andy Warhol”, released in 1996, starred Lili Taylor, Stephen Dorff and Jared Harris. The soundtrack was a compilation of various artists tracks.The choice of artists on this CD was eclectic. There was a track from The Lovin’ Spoonful, and others from R.E.M., Luna, The MC5 (“Kick Out the Jams” – one of my favourites), Love and a specially composed “I Shot Andy Warhol Suite” by John Cale.
The next classical CD, released the same year as “I Shot Andy Warhol”, was a promotional double CD entitled “Concert of Concerts, Opus 2″ released by NTT Data in Japan of works by Mozart and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. The cover and the discs themselves all featured a drawing from Warhol’s sketches from his portfolio “Play Book for S Bruce from 2:30 to 4:00″ given to Stephen Bruce joint owner of New York’s Serendipity 3 restaurant.
In 1997, Catalyst records released “Music for Merce” by The EOS Ensemble, conducted by Jonathan Sheffer, that used Warhol’s photographs of dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham on the booklet.
The next classical CD to appear was Karl-Aage Rasmussen’s 1998 “Three Friends”, which featured a detail from Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Annunciation” from Warhol’s “Details of Renaissance Paintings” prints from 1984. Another detail from another print from this series would appear on a CD cover in 2006.
The band Hopewell released its first album entitled “Contact” in 1998 with a cover picture of the Empire State Building from Warhol’s 1964 film of the building. The silent film lasts 8 hours and 5 minutes and was shot from the 41st floor of the Rockefeller Center.
John Cale released “Eat/Kiss –
Music From the Films of Andy Warhol” in 1999, which features a still from Warhol’s film “Kiss” on the booklet’s cover.
In 2000, the Museum of Modern Art released a CD entitled “Open Ends – Musical Exploration in New York 1966-2000″. This is a compilation of various artists including The Velvet Underground, Yoko Ono, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo and The Fugs. The cover showed four colour variations of Warhol’s self portrait from 1966 – a work that resides in the Museum of Modern Art.
A rather strange compact disc entitled “Andy Warhol – Amerykansi Mit” appeared in Poland in 2002. This is a twelve track CD with the majority of tracks by members of The Velvet underground, but also including tracks by Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, The Animals and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Two further compact discs were released in 2002 with Warhol art. “Andy Warhol – Uh, Yes, Uh, No” – a recording of Warhol quotes, and “Pop Art – Underground Sounds From the Warhol Era” another compilation of tracks by thirteen artists including (of course) Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Roky Erikson, Debbie Harry, John Cale and Jackson Browne. The cover was one of Warhol’s 1984 self portraits.
Another strange compact disc entitled “Warholes Or All Andy Would Enjoy (and Fear) / Warhol Memory Disorder” by Lengow & HEveRMEarS / Otomo Yoshide & Sachiko M with DJ Mao and Peter Skala used Warhol’s Cow wallpaper with added bullet holes as its cover image. I don’t have this CD and have no idea what tracks it contains.
In 1993 David Jones (no, not the David Bowie David Jones) and Bill Shute released a cassette of “traditional songs for all ages”, with simple cover art, entitled “Widdecombe Fair“. The album was re-released in 2003 with new cover art.
In 2004 another various artists CD by Cultura and entitled “Andy Warhol by Cultura” was released in Italy. This Digipak double CD included a booklet with several Warhol artworks, the use of which had been sanctioned by The Warhol Foundation.
A bootleg compact disc with early Velvet Underground tracks, recorded between January and April 1966 was released in Japan in 2005. The CD was called “The Velvet Underground at the Factory – Warhol Tapes”.
The British music magazine Q released two CDs of covers of the music of John Lennon. These were cleverly titled “John Lennon Covered #1” and “John Lennon Covered #2“. Each 14-track CD included tracks by Oasis, Madonna, Paul Weller, Stereophonics and others.
Three compact discs featuring Warhol art were released in 2006. “The Mystery of Do-Re-Mi” a recording by the baritone Christopher Grabbitas accompanied on the lute by David Miller used a detail from another of Warhol’s “Details of Renaissance Paintings” series, This time using SandroBotticelli’s “The Birth of Venus“.
A second CD from 2006 was Brian Keene’s “Andy Warhol – A Documentary” which contained a specially composed soundtrack.
Several CDs have appeared in Germany on Warhol’s life and works. The first, a tranlation of Andy Warhol’s diaries was released under the title “Andy Warhol – Das Tagebuch” in 2006.
While on the subject of Warhol’s life, Deutsche Grammophon released a series of CDs with programmes of biographies of famous people, one of whom was Andy Warhol. Stephana Sabin compiled the biography, which is in German.
The French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles released a compilation compact disc entitled “Le New York d’Andy Warhol” in 2007. The CD featured tracks by Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Television and others. The cover picture was David McCabe‘s photo of Andy with Edie Sedgwick taken in 1964 just after the release of Warhol’s film “The Empire State Building”.
And in 2008 another German CD biography of Warhol appeared, this time written by Annette Spohn and called “Andy Warhol – Leben, Werk, Wirkung”.
The Art Gallery of Ontario presented an exhibition of Warhol art entitled “Stars, Death and Disasters, 1962-1964″ in 2008. The exhibition was co-curated by film director David Cronenberg and the gallery released a CD of Cronenberg’s discussions of the exhibition. The CD was entitled “Cronenberg on Warhol” and featured two images of “Double Elvis on front and rear covers.
In 2008 a re-issue of an old bootleg appeared on CD with a new cover. The Velvet Underground‘s “Psychedelic Sounds From the Gymnasium” is a concert recording from April 30th 1967. This album was originally released on vinyl in 2008 and this re-issue has a Warhol cover supplied by The Warhol Foundation.
The final compact discs on my list are credited to MPHO (Mpho Skeef, a South African, now living in London). The are promotional various artist CD-rs and are released on the Wall of Sound/Parlophone label. Entitled “The Art of Pop featuring DJ Beware, Vols 1 and 2″, the cover art shows classic Pop Art images, not only by Warhol, but by Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns and others.
And that takes us up to 2009. I have thus far not been able to find any compact discs released after this that feature Andy Warhol’s art. But I promise – I will keep on searching.
This post owes a big thank you to Guy Minnebach, who came up with several CDs that I had missed. Thank you, Guy.